By Grace Maselli
Of course, our TBT and Florida-wide timebank members totally get the value of timebank exchanges—where everyone’s time is valued equally, no matter the type of doing being done.
Nonetheless, dear reader, you may have also caught wind of what’s rattling the U.S. middle class. According to real data, it’s taking an economic hit to the sternum. For example, in May 2018, the Brookings Institute, a nonprofit public policy group in Washington, D.C., published an article, “Seven reasons to worry about the American middle class,” where it also referenced the start of its initiative, the Future of the Middle Class and the notion that people are getting banged up in their chase for the American Dream.
Specifically, data points to all things stagnant: “Despite gains in national income over the past half-century, American households in the middle of the distribution have experienced very little income growth in recent decades.” Couple stalled incomes with “falling wages,” and the effect is “fewer Americans are growing up to be better off than their parents.”
Enter Sustainable Lifestyles and the Quest for Plenitude: Case Studies of the New Economy, published by Yale University Press in 2014. In it, the book references the “sharing economy” in the collection’s “Chapter 3, New Cultures of Connection in a Boston Time Bank.” The sharing economy in 2013 dollars was “estimated at 25 percent annually and…predicted to exceed $3.5 billion.” It’s also given rise to “connected consumption” and includes everything from sharing goods and assets between peers and neighbors to “reuse of goods” (carbon footprint reduction) and many things in between, including (drum roll, please), “time banks, which are service-exchange communities that operate without money according to principles of equal time exchange.”
In other words, by virtue of necessity, a timebanker might argue, the squeeze on the middle class has given rise to connectedness. Not to mention, innovation. (You know, the proverbial Mother of Invention phenomenon.) Peeps are renting out their cars (Relay Rides). Their houses (Think Airbnb). And they’re timebanking. The authors of Chapter 3 declare, timebanks are all about forging “informal social ties.” They fit right in, perfectly. “We have found that while the sharing economy is by no means confined to young people [italics, mine], they have been its innovators and early participants. They’re more digitally connected and more open to strangers and lifestyle experimentation,” the authors say. The moral of the story? The 30+ year-old timebanking idea is still capturing the hearts and imaginations of youth culture and way beyond, to align with the “new” sharing economy.
By Grace Maselli
Earlier this month Salon.com peeled back the layers on “increasingly popular cooperative time banks.” For readers who may not know, Salon.com—an online newspaper—started nearly a quarter century ago and self describes as an, “American news and opinion website…publish[ing] articles on U.S. politics, culture, and current events [with] a politically progressive, liberal editorial stance.” The April 6 piece zeros-in on a timebank in Detroit and references beaucoup exchanges including housing sitting, window washing, transportation, and multicultural cooking classes. The writer also delves into the flex that characterizes the timebanking model. In particular, “time is traded throughout a local time banking community, or even throughout the country: For example, you find yourself in another city and need a ride to the airport. You could spend your time banked in your hometown on a ride in the city you’re visiting.” Voila.
The piece likewise references digital time collection through hOurworld and other U.S. timebanks, referencing the variety of top exchanges shared depending on the community and who enjoys doing what. New York City and Baltimore top the hOurworld charts in terms of size; and in Baltimore in particular, emphasis is placed on the system’s ability to enable older adults to continue to live independently in their homes. The article links to Baltimore’s “Partners in Care” that gets to the core of timebank founder Edgar S. Cahn’s aim: “Volunteering is a one-way relationship that is charitable, but not necessarily reciprocal. An economist might say that a time bank creates liquidity in a market for day-to-day tasks that might not be commercially available or affordable to [timebank] members.” Let’s hear it for the flow of daily tasks along with the beauty of two-way relationships.
By Grace Maselli
The life blood of any timebank is its exchanges. What a person offers to another member.
What a person receives. An hour for an hour. When the timing and need sync. No matter if you’re pulling weeds or pulling teeth. Could be a household chore. An errand to the dry cleaners. A visit to someone in the hospital. A meal for their family.
It’s the stuff of caring. Often with meaning way beyond money; rather, it’s about the actions and deeds that thread and join the interdependent fabric of community. Youth—teens—can be involved too. According to the chores list on “VeryWellFamily,” here’s a sampling of what youth might also contribute to their local timebank exchanges:
- Plant watering
- Pet feeding
- Pet walking (and litter box cleaning!)
- A scrubba dub dub of pets, pets’ things, and cars in driveways
- Babysitting (complete with chocolate chip cookie baking)
- Lawn mowing
- Hoisting and heaving plant cuttings into bags, then tossing bags into appropriate receptacles
- Light housekeeping for older people
- Reading/companionship to housebound folks
So consider getting your teens into the swing of timebank things. Because you never know when the effort can really make a positive difference in someone else’s life. And yours. Open our TBT timebanking flyer for more info.
By Grace Maselli
In an informal TBT poll-taking (spontaneous question-asking on the campus of a nearby college), it quickly became clear that what people like is hanging out. Together. Some good old-fashioned connection and conversation is the ticket!
The ticket to what?
To human interaction. You’ve heard it before. We homo sapiens love a good party. Or a picnic. A shared cultural event that we can discuss, dissect, elaborate on, be grateful for, together. After the fact. Or an interactive workshop.The kind where we break out into small groups and talk. Brainstorm. Or just eat pie.
In case it’s been a while since you Googled the dictionary meaning of esprit de corps, here it is: “A sense of unity and of common interests and responsibilities, as developed among a group of persons closely associated in a task, cause, enterprise, etc.”
We here at TBT are such a”closely associated” group of peeps. We like to go to cultural events together. Eat sandwiches in sync at public parks. (We like to feel our way into real face-to-face experiences.) Sometimes we don’t even talk that much; we just smile knowingly at one another. Other times, yackety-yack. And of course we’re all about timebank exchanges. Check out the flyer for more info. And tell yer friends too!
By Grace Maselli
Put it in your calendar: Sunday, May 19 from 3 to 6 PM. TBT and its friends and guests will be self-expressing and chowing down on potluckery on a Sunday afternoon. Coming together as a community to connect and share. And of course we have a theme! We’ll be festooning the tree pictured here. Guests should plan to bring a personal emblem, ephemera, memento, relic, small photo, object, remembrance, Roadside America gadget, souvenir, or bauble, to hang from a tree branch—anything participants feel is a reflection or symbol of who they are. It can be store-bought, homemade, borrowed, rented, picked up at a yard sale, accepted on temporary or long-term loan. You name it. Could be a mini collage, a symbolic animal that represents what you value in strength, speed, ability to camouflage. It could be something that sparkles to represent engagement with the world around you. It should be about the size of a standard holiday tree ornament, maybe no bigger than your hand. Anything you conceive that is valuable to you and authentically symbolizes what you want to share with guests, is fair game. But it must be able to hang from a tree branch. So get out your glue gun, tape, sealing wax, paste, chewing gum, stickem stuff, and ribbon, string, fishing line, cord, twine, dental floss, or copper wire to make it work. (To make it dangle from a branch!) Plan to bring a yummy, crowd-pleasing dish to share. And prepare to let us know why you chose what you chose, then pick a place on the tree for your object. We’ll hang all pieces from the tree and take a community photo as an area-wide timebanking keepsake! Let’s come together to satisfy our collective hunger for stories and to build friendship!
|Date||Sunday, May 19, 2019|
|Address||2128 Park Crescent Drive
Land O Lakes, FL 34639
Between Collier Pkwy and Livingston Road
|Questions?||Contact Grace at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Grace Maselli
Sometimes gifts drop from the sky. Or in the case of our Tampa timebank, from the mystical vibes and synchronicities that live quietly in the still, local spaces between cypress tree branches. A major vibes “channeler,” butterfly farmer (along with his giddy, effervescent wife, Deb), is TBT member and professor—PhD and MBA—Robert E. McGinnis. Robert, who’s too humble to go by “Dr.” in our TBT circles, or likely any circle, is part Renaissance man, part poet (who’s memorized entire epic masterpieces by Kahlil Gibran and recited them verbatim at our TBT potlucks), also teaches in Saint Leo University’s Department of Computer Science & Info Systems in the School of Business.
Given Robert’s eclectic interests, and quick, ready knowledge of stuff happening at Saint Leo’s, he was generous enough to share. Specifically, he forwarded a few known poetry-writing TBTers and groovy friends submission information about the Pasco Fine Arts Council’s and Saint Leo’s Daniel A. Cannon Memorial Library’s Jacaranda Poetry Contest, in honor of April’s National Poetry Month.
Sooo. I did what all would-be poets do when gifts drop from the sky. When energy concentrates and the writing bumps into opportunity (manifested in the physical world, i.e.: Robert’s run-with-it Jacaranda Poetry Contest submission guidelines), I threw my hat in the ring and submitted three unpublished poems.
Turns out one of ’em won first place. My reaction? In a few inimitable words spoken gruffly in 1933 by Popeye the Sailor Man…flippin’ Blow Me Down!
Here’s the very recent email missive I received about the whole magilleh from Jacalyn E. Bryan, Reference and Instructional Services Librarian and Associate Professor at Saint Leo, who works in the Cannon Memorial Library, and who had a major role to play in organization of the Jacaranda contest: “Dear Grace, Congratulations! Your poem, Queen of African Violets, has been selected by our judges to receive first place for the Jacaranda Poetry Contest. We would like to thank you for your contribution to the contest and look forward to your participation in the Jacaranda Poetry Reading and Reception on Wednesday, April 3 at 6:30 pm in the Cannon Memorial Library at Saint Leo University.”
So once again, with humility and deepest appreciation, I reap the meaningful, nourishing fruits of the beautiful timebank. Complete with its connection to people, the arts, and the humanity and soulfulness to care about more than just money. If poetry’s your thing, please join us on April 3 at 6:30 PM at the Daniel A. Cannon Memorial Library at Saint Leo University and earn TBT hours. Let ’em know if you plan to show at Jacalyn.Bryan@saintleo.edu. Library address is 33701 FL-52, St Leo, FL 33574; I’ll be posting the 19-line poem here on the blog after the reading. You can also check out the gorgeous 2019 National Poetry Month poster here.
By Grace Maselli
Timebank to the rescue. My dog Olive is, uh, er, a pet with thick fur. She’s a beautiful wingding dilly of a dog, part Shih Tzu, part Lhasa Apso, part mystery. According to Wikipedia, Lhasa’s were “bred as an interior sentinel in the Buddhist monasteries, to alert the monks to any intruders who entered.” Let’s just say my lovely, tender Olive is a long way from the Ganden Monastery of Tibet, living in lesser environs in Land O’ Lakes with her brother and sister, two other mutts.
True confession: Olive lives with me, her human mother, who doesn’t always stay on top of the stubborn, tangled mess of matted hair that seems to multiply like a quadratic equation (that I also don’t know how to keep up with). Canine College says, “Even the best of the best dog owners can be challenged with this task [of keeping dog hair from getting matted…] – it is very easy to overlook mats in our dog’s coat unless we run our fingers to the base of the coat – right to the skin! And once those mats start they can be stubborn (boldface, mine) and multiply or expand so quickly.” An excuse after my own heart.
Anyway, with my tail between my legs, I went to co-timebanker Karen Lowman, animal lover extraordinaire, for moral support and an exchange. And without judgement, fearless Karen, a woman who loves a furry challenge, came to the rescue. She arrived without a scintilla of criticism. She showed up on time without even one atomic particle of harshness. Instead, Karen brought only kindness and a buzzer.
Specifically, she brought her warmth and genuinely supportive disposition and a buzz-cutting kit for human hair. She took her buzzer out and gently, delicately, patiently relieved Olive of many mats. But so deep and thick are the said mats, that Karen and I need to schedule Part 2 of “Buzzing Olive,” to complete the new and nearly improved coiff. It’s also worth mentioning at this point that Olive represents Karen’s maiden voyage into the world of dog grooming. Heretofore, Karen’s only groomed people. Next step for Karen: Beauty Parlor Chez Bow Wow. Next step for me, less hand-wringing, more canine action.
By Grace Maselli
Don’t forget! Look for us at Philippe Park in Pinellas County on March 23 from 11 to 3 PM. We’re aiming for Shelter # 3 or picnic blankets right there. Why? To celebrate International Timebanking Day! Check out Father Timebank himself, Edgar S. Cahn. Word has it it’s also the esteemed Mr. Cahn’s birthday on the 23rd. All are welcome. Bring picnic food (fried chicken and pie, tofu and non-GMO corn), a blanket, a friend, and a Frisbee to share. And for local history buffs, Philippe Park is the oldest of its kind in Pinellas County. To learn some quick, interesting facts, check out the audio tour.
|Date||Saturday, March 23, 2019|
|Time||11 AM-3 PM|
2525 Philippe Pkwy.
Safety Harbor, FL 34695
or call 608.335.2382
Reminder: Join us soon on Tuesday, March 19—our Third Tuesday of Every Month rendezvous, otherwise known as TBT’s member-and-guest meeting and orientation. We meet at Tampa’s Life Enrichment Center (LEC). This Tuesday we’re psyched about a program presentation by new member, Janie Ambrose, a woman who’s skilled in the healing arts and metaphysics, just to name a few of her impressive competencies. Find out more about “Amazing Healings by Janie” for an introductory preview. From all of us at TBT, see you on Tuesday!
Hard to believe it’s already March, eh? Join us soon on Tuesday, March 19—our Third Tuesday of Every Month rendezvous otherwise known as TBT’s member-and-guest meeting and orientation. We meet at Tampa’s Life Enrichment Center (LEC). Our Third Tuesdays are part of TBT’s revitalization initiative to dispatch our efforts further into the community. This month, as always, we’re dedicated to education around our mission: exchanges, as explained here in our flyer! But we’re also gearing up for a local celebration of International Timebank Day and founder Dr. Edgar Cahn’s birthday on Saturday, March 23, 2019. Come join us at LEC for some community togetherness, event planning, and timebanking conversation!
|Date||Tuesday, March 19, 2019|
|Address||9704 North Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33612; phone: 813.932.0241|
|Questions?||Contact email@example.com or call 608.335.2382|